1614 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Christopher Brooke

George Chapman, "To his ingenuous, and much lov'd Friend, the Author" Brooke, The Ghost of Richard the Third (1614) 1-2.



You now amids our Muses Smithfield are
To sell your Pegasus, where Hackney ware
(Rid by the swish swash Rippiers of the Time,
Pamper'd and fronted with a Ribband Ryme)
Though but some halfe Houre soundly try'd, they tyre,
Yet sell, as quickned with Eternall Fire.
All things are made for sale; sell man and all
For sale, to Hell: There is no Soul, to sale.
Your flippant sence-delighter, smooth, and fine,
Fyr'd with his Bush Muse, and his sharpe Hedge Wine,
Will sell like good old Gascoine. What does then
Thy Purple in graine, with these Red-Oker men?
Swarth Chimney sweepe, that to his Horne doth sing,
More Custome gets; then in the Thespian Spring,
The thrice bath'd Singer to the Delphian Lyre,
Though all must needs be rid heere; yet t' aspire
To common sale, with all turne-serving Jades,
Fits Pandars, and the strong-voic't Fish-wife Trades.
Affect not that then, and come welcome forth,
Though to some few, whose welcom's something worth:
Not one, not one (sayes Perseus) will reade mine;
Or two, or none; 'Tis Pageant Orsadine
That goes for gold in your Barbarian Rate,
You must be pleas'd then to change gold for that.
Might I be Patterne to the meanest few
Even now when hayres of Women-hated-hew
Are wither'd on me; I delight to see
My Lines thus desolately live like me,
Not any thing I doe, but is like Nuts
At th' ends of Meales left; when each Appetite gluts,
Some Poet yet can levell you a Verse
At the Receipt of Custome; that shall Pierce
A sale Assister; as if with one Eye
He went a Burding; strikes Fowles as they fly,
And has the very Art of Foulerie.
Which Art you must not envie; be you pleas'd
To hit Desert; fly others, as diseas'd,
Whose being pierst, is but to be infected;
And as bold Puritans (esteem'd elected)
Keep from no common Plague, which so encreases;
So these feed all Poeticall Diseases.
Best Ayre, lest dwellers hath; yet thinke not I
Fore-speake the sale of thy sound Poesie;
But would in one so worth encouragement
The care of what is counted worst, prevent;
And with thy cheerefull going forth with this;
Thy Muse in first Ranke of our Muses is.

"Non datur ad Musas currere lata via."